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Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Needables
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Monday
Nov212011

Red Scarlet, Canon C300, and the Paradox of Choice

It’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker. Amazing tools, amazing prices. There’s a funny thing about having many wonderful options though—it can lead to unhappiness. Studies show that, when presented with unlimited options, people become paralyzed in their decision making. Unlimited options create the expectation of 100% satisfaction, which inevitably leads to disappointment. This is why you’ll happily watch the last three-quarters of Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever on HBO because it’s “better than what’s on Cinemax,” but you’ll leave a well-stocked video store empty-handed and depressed that there’s “nothing to watch.”

Maybe this helps explain the mixed reactions to Canon and Red’s November 3rd announcements. Both companies have, it seems, had plenty of time to assess what we wanted and just fricking make it. Both have done so, but in the process have left some of their devoted fans behind. We now have so many cameras from which to choose that it feels like there should be a perfect choice among them, but what we actually have is a more complex array of compromises to wade through than ever before.

We fell in love with the sultry, cinematic images from our HDSLRs, and then begged Canon and/or Red to fix what we didn’t like about them. They did—in spades—but in the process, they built professional cameras that are priced accordingly. You might respond with a pavlovian Click To Buy that leaves your wallet smoking like no SLR could. Or you might take a deep breath and realize that a bargain-basement DSLR is still the best filmmaking tool for your needs.

Graduation Day

A big part of the DV Rebel strategy is to save money by repurposing tools designed for other industries. Film gear is expensive, because it’s designed for a relatively small customer base. A dirt-cheap film lighting kit is about $1,000, whereas a quartz shop light can be in the neighborhood of $50 with a stand. If you can bash or borrow a dolly from home-improvement-store parts, you’ll spend a tiny fraction of what you’d pay for a proper film dolly.

The 5D Mark II and its successors were accidental successes in cinema. They were not designed for filmmakers, but it turned out they were eminently repurposable for our needs. There’s nothing accidental about the Canon C300 and the Red Scarlet X though. They completely solve the problems with our HDSLRs, and in the process, they exit the category of commodity consumer items and join the aery echelon of proper filmmaking gear—priced accordingly.

And although the price points of each might still be considered revolutionary, they do fit into a continuum of offerings now available. Here’s a brief survey of that landscape, written from the perspective of a DSLR shooter considering an upgrade.

Red Epic M ($43,000 with PL Mount)

I list this here only for comparison and context. To upgrade from a DSLR to an Epic is not an organic transition by anyone’s measure. I’ve never owned a car that costs this much.

Canon C300 ($20,000 list, $15,999 street)

As I write this, the exact price of the Canon EOS C300 is still not clear—nor did it seem to be a planned part of the camera’s elaborate launch. When Mike Seymour asked the panel at the end of the event, the answer was simply “$20,000.” Later, this figure seemed less set in stone. Canon’s Larry Thorpe said to dpreview:

At the moment we’re still working out the details. The list price is around $20,000 but it be another month or so [before details are finalized].

UPDATE 1/17: The street price is confirmed at $15,999 and the camera is now available for order.

Canon could have used a dash of Apple showmanship at this lavish event. Remember the days leading up to the iPad announcement? Rumors swirled that the tablet device would cost $1,000. When Jobs announced that it started at $499, the audience cheered (even though many of them would go on to buy the most expensive model, priced at $829). Apple fans and detractors alike imagined that Apple themselves may have spread the $1,000 rumors, in a brilliant context-setting strategy pulled straight from Predictably Irrational.

The street price of the C300 matters, because the most common reaction to the $20,000 price is that it’s way too high. More nuanced reactions are that it’s a perfectly reasonable price, but that it may have missed its sweet spot in the market.

The C300’s Canon Log imagery has been favorably compared to footage from the Arri Alexa, a camera that doesn’t get out of bed for less than $80K. A quarter-price Alexa seems like a great deal. So what’s to complain about?

The C300’s data rate is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can shoot to commodity CF cards and edit on a laptop without transcoding. On the other hand, 50 Mbps is the bare minimum accepted by some broadcast institutions, such as the BBC. For $20K, folks start expecting a little more than the bare minimum.

In practice, I found that the data rate of the C300 footage was ample. None of the raw footage I’ve examined suffers from significant compression artifacts. I personally like the production-ready nimbleness of compressed, industry-standard codecs. So I don’t hold this limitation against the Canon.

Similarly, some lament that the MXF-format footage is only 8-bit, rather than, say, 10-bit as is the case with the Alexa’s ProRes recordings. I think a more valid complaint is that the HDMI output of the camera is only 8 bit. The ability to record clean HD to an outboard device is a touted feature of the C300. But again, the $20K MSRP will have this kind of shooter expecting more than 8 bit.

Again, a pro of this camera crops up to dampen this con: The C300 is not a noise-free camera. Its noise is, in fact, quite lovely and cinematic. Noisy images don’t have to be as high-bit-depth as clean ones to look good. And a very gentle denoising pass can promote C300 footage to 16-bit without much loss in detail.

The C300 is crippled in ways that one would not expect from a $20,000 camera, but it is also empowered in ways usually reserved for much more expensive rigs. It uses a 4K sensor to make its HD images, meaning that all its internal processing is 4:4:4. It kills in low light and when it gets noisy, the noise looks like film grain.

But perhaps the most shocking capability of the C300 is its latitude. It’s here that the comparison with the Alexa is most surprisingly appropriate. The C300 simply has a jaw-dropping ability to hold shadow and highlight detail in the same frame. Check out this frame from Mobius, shot in near-noontime sun, with only natural light:

There are countless other examples in Vincent’s film where the cinematic look of artfully exposed desert sun fights everything I think I know about digital cinematography. About the last thing I’d ever attempt with my 5D Mark II would be a pan off a car interior out the window to a high-noon bald sky exterior. That’s pure Alexa or Epic + HDRX territory.

This, more than any other spec, has my attention. Some care a lot about spatial resolution—4K, 5K, 8K is what gets them excited. What excites me about a new camera is this kind of latitude. Most of the detractors of the C300’s price seem to be ignoring this significant achievement.

It matters to me that the C300 can use Canon lenses and use them well. It has no autofocus, but it can electronically focus EF-mount lenses.

The C300 is a strange mix of pro features and consumer limitations. There’s a huge crowd for whom it’s too much camera and certainly many for whom its not enough. I wonder if there are enough folks in between to make this camera a success.

Pros: Uses your Canon glass well, plug-and-play codec, pro video features pulled directly from successful camcorders. The only Super 35 camera with built-in ND filters. Possibly the low-light king of all cameras listed here.

Cons: No autofocus. 8-bit everywhere. Overcranking requires dropping to 720p. The price is a big f-you to the HDSLR community that welcomed Canon to Hollywood.

The Verdict: A badass camera that has stepped far enough away from the DSLR economy that it must be evaluated in a completely new context—a disappointing situation for Canon fans hoping for a “DSLR, but better.”

The Twist: We don’t actually know what this thing costs yet. (UPDATE: Yes we do.)

Sony PMW-F3K ($13,960$17,820 with S-Log Upgrade)

This is the closest analog to the C300, and it’s been out for a while. Why hasn’t it taken the world by storm? My theory is that, like the C300, it is an odd jumble of body parts, some too big and some much to small for its price-point britches.

It ships with a PL adapter, inviting you to put costly cinema lenses on it. But then it only records to a 35 Mbps codec. It has terrific latitude, but tantalizes you with an expensive option to make it even better (the S-Log upgrade costs $3860 and requires an external recording device for anything better than 8-bit 4:2:0).

Take that PL adapter off and you have the Sony mount, which is only as useful as whatever other adapter you put on it. I’m not exactly sure what kind of farm animals you have to sacrifice to get your hands on an electronic Canon adapter for this thing.

These pros and cons create such a rocky landscape that it’s hard to feel strongly one way or the other about this camera. It’s not easy to love, but it’s impossible to hate.

Pros: Pro video features. All the frame rates you’d ever want from 1 to 60. 10-bit 4:2:2 HD-SDI Output. S-Log.

Cons: 4:2:0, 35 Mbps internal codec. Overcranking requires dropping to 720p. Aperture control of Canon lenses requires an electronic adapter hand-hewn from unicorn horn. S-Log is an expensive upgrade and requires an external recorder.

The Verdict: If the C300 eats anyone’s lunch, it’s this guy’s. But maybe the opposite is also true. If you’re looking at that S-Log feature and planning on using PL or even Canon glass, why wouldn’t you consider a Scarlet instead?

The Twist: Does this camera’s modest success mean that the semi-pro Super 35 space is a fertile land yet to be properly plundered, or a barren landscape of neither here nor there?

Red Scarlet X ($14,015 with display and media)

I’m listing the package price rather than the $9,750 body-only price because all the other cameras listed include a display and batteries. And although it’s not apples-to-apples, as the other cameras do not include media, the media costs for the other cameras are negligible, while the Scarlet’s are significant.

For example, if you wanted to record an hour of footage, you could compromise and get 50 minutes of RedCode 12:1 24p 4K HD on a 64 GB SSD, which would cost you $950. Compare that with a 32 GB CF card, which will hold 80 minutes of Canon C300 footage, and cost you only $67 (probably less if you’re reading this more than 15 minutes after I posted it).

Vincent Laforet shot 18 hours of C300 footage for Mobius. At Scarlet X 4K HD 12:1, that would require enough SSD media to cover the cost of a C300 body. But Vincent, shooting to inexpensive CF cards, was able to shoot redundantly and keep a duplicate copy of all that footage for safety.

Philip Bloom recently posted a balanced take on the Scarlet. As an owner of both an Epic and a Sony F3, he’s in a good position to be realistic. What I found most illuminating was his breakdown of the costs involved in keeping the Epic turned on:

If you run JUST on Red Volts, which I do sometimes, and no AC then you will burn through those batteries like crazy. I have 12 of them which will JUST get me through the day. V mount batteries with ViewFactors V mount adaptor is the most cost effective solution. That is $700 but my IDX batteries power my EPIC for WAYYYY longer than a Red Volt. Still they are not cheap either, nor are the good chargers. Just remember 12 Red Volts=$2340 and that is without extra chargers.

Of course, you get what you pay for—the Scarlet’s footage is not just 4K, it’s also raw, meaning that you can grade it with impunity. The image quality and latitude are the same as the Epic (at matching data rates), which is worth reiterating because it feels too good to be true.

Is Red crazy for selling a camera body for $10K that does much of what its flagship Epic does? Not at all. As Jim said at their November 3 announcement, this is a way to utilize under-specced Epic electronics that they’d otherwise be discarding. But the real crazy-like-a-fox angle is probably the good old razors/blades model. The Scarlet body is a killer deal, but it uses (and/or requires) the same accessories and modules as the Epic (such as the gorgeous touch LCD included in the package price), and Red is probably doing just fine with the profit margin on those.

Cunningly, Red announced their price after Canon. Negotiators know that whoever mentions money first, loses. Apple knows that “cheaper” only means something if you have a point of comparison. Regardless of the realities of building a functional kit, the gut-level takeaway for many on November 3 was that Red announced a camera that shoots four times the resolution of Canon’s at half the price.

Never mind that most people shooting with the Scarlet will be mastering in HD. In other words, using a 4K sensor to make an HD image. Just like the C300 does.

There is also the sneaky little fact that this “Super 35” camera will not shoot 24p at a full utilization of its large sensor. To make a movie, you have to window down to 4K, which means that suddenly your Super 35 sensor, well, isn’t. The 4K window that Scarlet uses matches the Red One’s 4K though, so if that’s what you’re used to, you’ll be right at home with Scarlet.

This windowing effect increases as you up your frame rate, so while you can shoot 120 fps with your Scarlet, at that point you’re actually shooting to roughly the 2/3” sensor that Red decided not to make.

I think the Scarlet looks to be a terrific camera—but like Mr. Bloom I suspect it’s the exact right camera for something less than 100% of the people who fancy it as the exact right camera.

Scarlet is a great camera for someone who already owns an Epic or a Red One. Someone who has the data management backend (Mike and Jason insist that you’ll need a $4,750 Red Rocket card, for example) and pro accessory front end to deal with a sweet deal of a camera that demands top-quality glass and cranks out big, expensive footage. But if you’re a recent DSLR graduate, or hoping to be, beware the ancillary financial effect of joining the 4K club. This enticing battleship-gray camera body will be a small part of a very large investment.

Pros: Gorgeous image quality. The same Epic raw that is being used on major Hollywood films. Works with all Epic modules and accessories. Best overcranking rates of all cameras here.

Cons: Footage requires transcoding for most editing workflows. 4K window is where you’re going to be most of the time. Overcranking reduces the sensor size, forcing you to compensate with wider lenses. It’s easy to be fooled by the $9,750 base price. The heaviest and most accessory-wanting of all the cameras listed here.

The Twist(s): Small camera, big workflow. Try explaining to your client why your lens options change when selecting different frame rates. And good luck trusting them to properly massage all your multiple resolution shots into something they can cut.

Sony NEX-FS100U ($4,999)

If you asked a Canon HDSLR shooter what they’d be willing to pay for a proper video camera with a Super 35 sensor, no moiré, and the pro video features camcorder shooters are accustomed to, such as zebra, focus-assist peaking, and XLR audio inputs, they would probably answer somewhere around $5,000 US. And lo, we have a camera at exactly that price point, that offers all that stuff.

One wonder why we keep complaining.

As usual, it begins with data rates. The FS100 maxes out at a paltry 24 Mb/s for 24p.

The next thing we usually gripe about is frame rates. Although the FS100 will allow you to record 1080p60, it doesn’t have a “slow and quick motion” option for slightly-off frame rates. You’re stuck with the standard missionary-position speeds of 24, 30, and 60; or 25 and 50 for PAL.

As with the F3, the FS100’s Sony mount is primarily useful in that it allows adapters for many other lens types. A friend of mine just wrapped a feature using Nikon glass. Canon glass is trickier, because the lenses don’t allow manual irising. Although let’s be honest—it took me a week before I noticed that my Canon 24–70 F2.8L had been damaged and was stuck wide-open, and the only thing that clued me in was an attempt to shoot a DOF demo for fxphd.

This camera isn’t going to knock your socks off with colorimetry or latitude, but it deserves our attention for shoring up many of the shortcomings we lament in our HDSLRs without leaving the price strata that inspired its existence.

Pros: The price is right—this is what a DSLR shooter probably expects to spend when “graduating” to a proper camera. 60p recording at 1920x1080—something the F3 can’t even do.

Cons: Cheap-feeling plastic construction. Maximum 24p data rate is 24 Mb/s. No useful funky frame rates (like 22 fps for fight scenes, or 48 fps for perfect 1/2 speed slow mo). No currently-available adapter allows aperture control of Canon lenses.

The Verdict: More like this please.

The Twist: A new company has popped up to pimp this ride. Solid Camera sells a beautifully engineered cage with a built-in PL mount.

Panasonic AG-AF100 ($4,795)

I really thought we could count on Panasonic to step up, and they finally did with the AF100. Unfortunately, this camera is another confusing parade of difficult-to-weigh pros and cons.

First, there’s the Micro 4/3 sensor. Having spent some time with one of these, I’m sad to say, size matters. The AF100 is the odd-man-out in this Super 35 roundup.

Then there’s the colorimetry. With the DVX100, Panasonic popularized the idea of a “CINE-LIKE” gamma setting on a consumer camera—a flat, uniform transfer function that preserves detail and allows for creative grading. So we trust Panasonic to do what’s right in this area. But even with these settings enabled, the AF100 turns in disappointingly contrasty images.

Between the smaller sensor and the video-like images, I simply having seen anything from this camera that got me cinematically excited.

Pros: Any frame rate you like between 1 and 60 fps at 1920x1080. There is a lovely electronic Canon adaptor available for this mount from Redrock Micro. Internal ND filters. Pro video features.

Cons: Micro 4/3 sensor is smaller than Super 35 by a meaningful amount. Contrasty, low dynamic-range images.

Canon 5D Mark II ($2,370)

The only camera to attempt to dethrone the full-frame 24p glory of the 5D Mark II is the not-yet-available 1D X, which will cost significantly more. The sex-appeal king is still the sex-appeal king.

By “full-frame” I of course mean a stills full-frame, which is 8-perf 35mm run horizontally. The standard for celluloid stills, this format was rare in cinema. The extra real-estate means that, in broad terms, lenses are wider, DOF is shallower, and pixels are bigger.

While not strictly necessary for by-the-book “cinematic” depth of field, the double-size sensor of the 5D allows you to fight off the bitter twinge of its technical shortcomings with heaping, buttery globs of shallow focus and low-light performance.

But what of this awful aliasing/moiré issue? HDSLRs in general, and the 5D in particular, are best suited for true DV Rebels—the one-man-band director/DP filmmaker who can factor this camera’s strengths into a film holistically. This shooter can reject wardrobe she knows will alias, re-stage a shot to frame out the sizzling rainbow of a cobblestone road, and block a scene to emphasize sultry soft backgrounds rather than poorly-rendered detail.

The DV Rebel also controls post, so when she brings home footage that sparkles and moirés like mad, she can knuckle down and fix it by hand (don’t let anyone tell you a plug-in can do this).

These are luxuries on which a pro shooter cannot rely. I’d hate to be in a position of saying “he can’t wear that” or “we can’t get this angle” to a paying client.

But when it’s just me and I want sexy cinema to spare, I reach for my 5D Mark II.

Pros: Full-frame 35mm sensor yields cinematic DOF from even slower lenses. Images that make you want to lick the screen. A world-class stills camera in its off hours.

Cons: Aliasing and moiré. No 720p overcrank option—max frame rate is 30 fps. Poor quality HDMI output. Fragile connectors. Video features are outclassed by much less expensive Canon HDSLRs.

The Twist: A company called Mosaic Engineering makes an add-on optical alti-aliasing filter for the 5D Mark II called the VAF-5D2. This filter snaps on non-destructively over your actual sensor and eliminates moiré and aliasing by scattering the light just before it hits the photosites. This process is relatively seamless once the filter is installed, although there are a few limitations. The examples are compelling, even if the company itself is oddly antisocial. I contacted Mosaic Engineering for additional information and received no response. Other blogger/shooters I know received a similarly cold response from the company.

The Verdict: The DV Rebel’s love affair with the camera that started the party has not flagged over the three years of HDSLR madness. The perfect camera for the DOF-obsessed shooter whose only client is himself.

Canon Rebel T3i ($659)

Perspective time: This camera body, which shoots 24p on a Super 35 sensor, costs less than 20 minutes of recording media for the Scarlet X.

Welcome back to the DV Rebel land of repurposing. This near-bottom-of-the-line camera, that actually has the word Rebel in its name, has the most up-to-date video features of any Canon DSLR save the 1DX.

I’ve got a full blog post coming on this little camera, but in short, the articulating LCD and video crop mode make this bargain body the best low-cost choice for those willing to work around the limitations common to all HDSLRs. If you were looking for the 7D or the 60D on this list, they’ve been replaced by this little guy. I know, crazy.

Pros: Articulating LCD that you can still use with a Zacuto Z-Finder. Movie crop mode. Chiggity-cheap.

Cons: No pro video features. Aliasing and moire. Controls a bit more fussy than those on the 60D or 5D Mark II. Limited frame rates, 50/60 fps only at 720p.

The Verdict: What a time to be alive.

The Twist: If we’re going to talk about the ancillary costs of the Red Scarlet, we should do the same for any HDSLR. Factor things like a Zacuto Z-Finder and a follow-focus rig (such as the Redrock Micro Captain Stubling or EyeSpy Deluxe) into your purchase plans for even the cheapest Canon body.

The Twisty Twist: For the adventurous, the Magic Lantern firmware hack is available for the T3i. It adds exposure zebras, focus peaking, false color overlay, waveform monitor, bit-rate control, and even a built-in intervalometer for time lapse.

Conclusions

In every movie about a mousy girl with glasses and a ponytail, there’s the “friend” who helps her with her makeover, and then gets snubbed when the transformation is, surprise, a huge success. In this case, we, the HDSLR community, are the friend. We helped get the Canon and Red cameras we love so much to clear up their complexion, throw on some contact lenses, and let their hair down. And now we’re standing here with our Zacuto dinguses and our Redrock doohickeys in our hands while the newly-gorgeous cameras are twirled around Tinseltown by the Handsome Quarterback.

All filmmakers are on a journey, and that journey is going to take you through many cameras. It’s dangerously easy to get swept up in advancing technologies, and all-too tempting to think that a new camera will slingshot your filmmaking forward.

The real tricky thing is that this is actually true—sometimes. There are moments when the capabilities of a new camera are exactly what we need creatively. How do you know when this is? A good indication is when you’ve repeatedly run up against the limitations of your current camera.

In other words, shoot, don’t spend, your way into your camera upgrade.

There are wonderful cameras at almost every price point. So don’t let any one new camera change your idea of how much you should be spending on gear.

See also: Pictures and Clarity (November 2008)

Reader Comments (53)

Great post Stu.

I wonder, are you familiar enough with what people are doing with the GH2 to include it?

I've gone through the 7D, T2i and T3i, but am blown away by the clarity of this camera when hacked. I'm currently transitioning to it and if you're familiar with it, this would be the perfect write up to add it to.

Every time I see new variations and advances in what people are capturing with this little camera, I see AF100 owners drooling.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterRyan Farnes

Ryan, I actually bought a GH2 and sold it without having used it for more than tests. It's the Micro 4/3 camera I "spent some time with."

I made an exception for the Panasonic AF100 in this otherwise Super-35-only post, because it was an honest stab by Pany to make the "DSLR killer." But the GH2 didn't make the cut, because unlike big-sensor SLRs, it doesn't have enough sex appeal to make up for its technical shortcomings.

Does that mean it's not a good choice for some? Not at all. But there are three things I've learned I don't much like doing: hacking cameras, buying lenses with different mounts, and shooting with sensors smaller than APS-C.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

Great post, very informative.

As a Nikon shooter (for stills) I really hope the upcoming D800 will be something worthy of being on this list. It's disappointing that there's nothing from them that makes the list already.

And I'll be interested to hear your take on the rumored 36 megapixels of the D800 if that is indeed an accurate spec.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterMark Rakocy

Fantastic post! I was quite upset with RED about the whole Scarlet thing.. I had been following them for 3 years. Way back then, there were no real options for low cost, big budget feeling cameras. Since then I have been on the HDSLR train. I was really excited about moving up to the scarlet. But then came the price... ouch!

I had to take a step back and evaluate my position.. I landed on the Sony FS100. I absolutely love it! The images I can get off this fantastic camera make me very happy!

The tools we have at our fingertips, at the prices we see today, are nothing short of amazing! When I think back to three years ago, I can't help but feel very lucky that the only thing holding me back is me.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterMichael Beck

Wow, this post is spot on. From the reason why we DSLR-users feel disappointed, to the chaos and confusion of the too many choices in the market place, you nailed it on all levels, Stu.

Personally, if I could just get a new DSLR from Canon that kills the major DSLR downsides of moire, aliasing, and jello, I'd be pretty happy. After all, I already have much of the kit to overcome the other issues (audio, stabilizer, etc.) The 1Dx looks like a good glimpse of the future. Now we just need something for the rest of us budget conscious shooters. So how about it, Canon? Pretty please?

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Bozulich

Quick note on the Mosaic Engineering filter. I have one and have done some tests and shot a 22-page short film with it. (hope to finish post by Christmas!)

Firstly, it works as well as advertised. It does NOT eliminate 100% of the moire artifacting. I'd say it eliminates probably about 85-90%. According to my tests, everything in the 650-900 lines range is totally clean. but the really high frequency stuff in the 1000 lines range will still bug out, although still in a less offensive manner than before.

Second, it work as not well as advertised. As in, they say that it's going to mess with your minimum focus, and it does, it a pretty big way. 85mm lenses become very difficult to use because the minimum focus isn't great to begin with. This is a pretty big deal because 85mm on a 5D is a VERY common narrative focal length, at least for me. I suspect zooms will work a little better because they can have better minimum focus than a telephoto prime. Also, because it basically blurs out high frequency signals, 10x magnification for focus checking becomes utterly useless because everything appears soft. Make sure you have a good monitor with focus peaking to make sure you're getting the right things in focus.

Third, I did not run into any "cold" issues with them at all. In fact, I was trying to get the filter in on time for the short film and they were responsive and courteous in handling my situation. I placed an order with them with the understanding that I only want to purchase if they could ship the filter in time (they were in severely short supply, apparently) and when the filter came in and they were ready to ship, they even took the time to check in with me to see if I still wanted the filter. I thought that that was very thoughtful of them.

So yeah, I do recommend the filter, just do your tests and understand what its limitations are.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterArt Chong

Great post, Stu. Thank you.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterSam Genovese

Nice article Stu and I wouldn't rush to preorder RED or Canon anyway. First wait for some real life user experiences.
I have one question about HDRx. It requires double framerate. Pairs of frames with one normal exposed and one say 3 stops underexposed. What is the time between every exposure? If you set 48fps for 24fps HDRx does it take every odd frame for underexposure or does it take both frames so fast it is near 24fps. If it takes the in between frames for under exposure you get blendghosting with fast moving objects or camera. Wind in grasses, moving trees. HDRx sounds great for mid day shots preserving both sky and ground. But perhaps not on a windy day.

I'm looking forward to your T3i article. I have one for 3 months. Had Magic lantern on it 5minutes after opening the box and love it. Check out other great ML features like: custom ISO/Kelvin (try DISP button), HDR timelapse (T3i sample: http://vimeo.com/30743059), flexible focus assistant modes like magic zoom and loads more.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterBart (Redkitemedia)

Oh lazy me. I found my answer through blogs and video's. It makes the 2 shots almost instant so no ghosting.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterBart (Redkitemedia)

"There are wonderful cameras at almost every price point. So don’t let any one
new camera change your idea of how much you should be spending on gear."

almost ? actually: for certain.
ok this goes far beyond the scope of the articles intention, but lets see:
what options do a filmaker today have:

- cheapo cams (100$),
- cheapo cams wich are hooked to an (cut open) analogue slr filming its mirror
- the strangely forgotten bridge cams (most of them do 720p only, but hey,this on an actual ccd chip...
sadly most of them do have limited controls.... becoming more "superzooms" than bridge)
- actual real camcorders... wich also have become quite good in the last few years
- the rest you listed.

I know it does sound hilarious at the first sight, but it isn't if you consider two things:

a) Do you really watch every indy for web only movie in Full HD ? Going to 720p max resolution can do wonders to
the indy moviemaker walllet. (especially if post processing / and set costs are involved)

b) all equipments do have downsides... its more a question how you cope them. A method is to actually use the cheap price
as an advantage and invest in multible solutions.


And this leads to the big "problem" I really do have with some of those HD only solutions costing more than 5k:
Do they _really_ beat a combo of a good and cheap fix-lens camcorder and an entry priced dslr on a _practical_ level ?

(anyway long day... sorry if it sounds a bit strange)

November 22, 2011 | Registered Commenterspatial

Great post & roundup - instant classic.

It reminds me of Orson Welles "The enemy of art is the absence of limitations".

And one tangible thing is all the great small companies and products created to deal with HDSLR limitations. For example, Yes, I bought a SmallHD to deal with my 7D LCD, but I now use it with any camera I shoot - great monitor and great company.

The other factor is looking at Canon's patterns and current discounts, 2012 will likely bring new variants of 5D/7D. And that's worth waiting for for most - and renting a Epic/Alexa/C300/Scarlet/F3 as needed for client shoots.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterStephen van Vuuren

Awesome post - very much appreciated, thank you Stu.

Having trouble finding one bit of info (internet is giving me conflicting answers) – what is the bit rate out of the FS100 HDMI port into something like a KiPro Mini? Price and 60FPS are awesome features; codec somewhat irritating.

Lack of a smart Canon mount for FS100 is also annoying ('tho Birger said January 2012 on Twitter!) but as you rightly mentioned I tend to leave most of my lenses fixed wide open during a series of shots then slap on a Vari ND.

Thanks once again for this detailed rundown.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterDan Findlay

I have a counter argument for the AG-AF100. and it is theeditman.com
Peter Lundstrom shoots consistently beautiful, cinema quality images with that camera and posts them on his website. He comes from a DSLR background and even explains on his site how to make the AF produce images that are similar to a DSLR. If I had my choice about which camera to get the AF would most likely be it. The only thing that concerns me about this camera is the 4/3 lenses.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterRocky Linderman

Stu,

You wrote that you gave up on the GH2 because of its 4/3rds sensor, not caring about "shooting with sensors smaller than APS-C."

But actually, the GH2 has a multi-format sensor that is larger than 4/3rds, using 19x10.5 mm in FullHD video mode. On Canon APS-C cameras, sensor size is 22x12 mm. So there's just 15% crop on the GH2 in relation to APS-C. (A 28mm lens would become a 32mm-equivalent on the GH2, no real big deal.) The GH2's vertical sensor size is even a tiny bit more than the 10mm vertical frame size of Super 35.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterFlorian

That's great information Florian, thanks. Although you're rounding down Canon's APS-C size a bit (22.3 x 14.9), and Super 35 doesn't have a height of 10mm—it's 18.66mm, and although none of these cameras use that size, all of them have a larger frame height than 10mm. Where did you get that number?

I'm not saying the GH2 isn't a lovable camera. Im just reporting that I failed to fall in love with it.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

Sorry for my mistake on S35, correct numbers are here. Canon APS-C has 22x15 only in 3:2 stills mode, but crops to 22x12 in 16:9 video. The GH2, on the other hand (and unlike other Micro 4/3rds cameras) then opens up the bigger sensor area, using 19 horizontal mm on the sensor instead of the standard 17 mm used for 4:3 still photographs.

So both Canon and the GH1/2 are pretty close in video sensor size used for HD video capture. This, however, does not apply to other Micro 4/3rds cameras including, AFAIK, the AF100.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterFlorian

you had me at the mention of Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever....

and the rest of the article is spot on as always.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterJeremy Fernsler

About GH2 it's a matter of choise... lens choise...
Most of lens have two/three good iris setup, a range where you can find best contrast/quality resolve of image.
In other iris settings you have more contrast and often you miss dectail in highlights and shadows.
I sold 5D and 7D be cause the excess of DOF give me limits to choose the right iris without have the result that i want, and i like a lot's DOF.
With m4/3 i found a more usable setup without use too much ND filter, and with a good DOF in prime lens (i'm not a zoom lover).
For me using old but good zeiss or pentax manual prime lens is not a problem, is a plus, but i had the time to use manual focus.
For a filmaker with zero budget, is simple to find some old but very good and light lens for less than 50$, my setup of manual lens (pentax K) are a 24mm (2.8), 50mm (1.7), 135 (2.8), 200mm (2.8) and i spent less than 150 $ for all.
I know that are full manual, i know that i need to know how to use, but you cannot buy similar lens quality for less than 200/300 $ per lens.
I'm also a nikon/canon photographer for since 20 years, and i know the price of lens.
my two cent
ps i just finisher your dvrebels book, my best $$ spent.

November 22, 2011 | Registered Commentercarlo macchiavello

The Gh2 (hack'd) is simply king right now.
Its got an utter lack of sex appeal; intolerable menu system, low resolution lcd, smaller sensor, plastic, no ovf option.

But there is nothing, absolutely nothing, like the meat and bones of the hacked device. First and foremost, that image, near uncompressed-like, a kind of unique organic film stock that is a pristine 2k downscale. The choice of lenses - unparalleled. I own both Canon and Panasonic. When is comes to video, the difference is shocking and ridiculous. At this time, the image is second only to Scarlet, the logical next step up (af100/fs100 don't compare in image).

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterAlex Mack

I simply can't wait to see your detailed post on the Rebel T3I

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterBen Pohl

Nice post Stu, but come on... It's not the camera that matters, it's the person using it. Any one of these cameras listed (and especially the GH2) is a plenty powerful tool in the hands of a filmmaker with a story to tell and a vision of how to get there. And without that, the best camera features are wasted.

We've reached the point in camera technology where additional features are all just luxury. Above this threshold, the audience really doesn't notice anymore unless you play the footage side by side.

November 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterDouglas Horn

Aww cmon Stu,

A 2 minute simple hack gets me 176mbits INTRA frame output from my lowly GH2.
Slap on some super speed glass like the 25mm f0.95 Voigtlander and you get all the sexy DOF you could ever want.

It sure as hell beats every DSLR out there. Just sayin'

November 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterAvi Joshi

Hey Stu,

I've never posted here before. I thought it was a very informative article; thanks for articulating the pros and cons of the new scarlet and c300 cameras as well as the gripes about their price points.

Could you possibly make an addendum and give some opinions on the hacked GH2? I've been seeing some wonderful footage online from it and was wondering what you thought about it: http://vimeo.com/30711094

November 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterGreenHydra

Stu,

Have you seen this? Shot on a hacked GH2 with a voigtlander 25mm 0.95 (eff 50mm): http://bit.ly/slDPh0 (thanks to @floonemedia)

That's <$2k worth of equipment...

November 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterRichard

I found the above very interesting but also unbalanced in places and missing the obvious - a hacked GH2, especially as it's sensor isn't that much smaller than a cropped in video mode and it has the wonderful voigtlander f0.95 available, along with awesome bit rates and resolution, it definitely produces better video than a t3i. I also thought there was little mention of the resolution of each camera, which would be a useful addition, a GH2 or FS100 has a couple of hundred more lines of vertical resolution than a T3i or 5D, the C300 a couple hundred more, the scarlet obviously dominates.

Regarding unbalanced, the c300's best feature is described as having 'jaw dropping' latitude (this can't really be seen in möbius as lighting setups are unknown), the non-slog f3 as 'terrific' lattitude and the fs100 as lattitude that 'wont knock your socks off', however all three share the exact same lattitude in tests, around 12 stops, as rated by abelcine and canon themselves (f3 is 13.5 with slog and I'm assuming canon have accurately rated their own product).

Also bitrates are not all equal as the fs100 avchd is better than canons h264 at a lower rate. Don't want to sound completely negative though, I thought the above was a very good summary of the cameras.

Canon really have lost the plot with their C300 pricing, the 1DX is the one I'm most excited about, shame its a few months away and Canon took more than 3 years to replace line skipping in a full frame. If they'd released a 5d3 a year ago with no line skippng, slightly better bitrate and slightly better rolling shutter they could have stuck an extra 2k on the price and still sold it like hot cakes, I can't imagine the C300 selling in high volumes.

November 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterToby Loc

here is my lowly opinion....

You gave Panasonic an A for effort and made the exception of adding the AF100 to your list. I think you're short-changing this camera a bit here. Micro 4/3 seems to be the issue, but "size matters" thinking can lead to a self full-filling prophecy. HDSLR users aren't going to see anything good from a sensor they're sure won't measure up to some vague "cinematic standard". And this seems to be S35.

"I simply haven't seen anything from this camera that got me cinematically excited." Take another look over at the AF100 channel on Vimeo for some cinematically exciting examples. Ignore the sensor specs and look at the results- I humbly suggest.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but sensor specs also seem to dictate the order in which the cameras are listed here. For the filmmaker who needs more pro features than just a large sensor, I would place the AF between the Scarlet and the FS100. No SDI out, no ND filters...um...ok.

Your article seems to follow a many DSLR user's mindset: large sensors above all else and anything lower than s35 simply can't measure up. Sure you can make art in a Burger King, but it's debatable as to whether that makes it cinematic.

November 23, 2011 | Registered Commentered kishel

* the price of the C300 seems to be lower than initially stated (probably $14K to $15K):
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?267945-Canon-EOS-C300-NEW-pricing!!!

* the next zacuto shootout is a blind test that should put every camera in its rightful place (image-quality wise):
http://nofilmschool.com/2011/11/cameras-stand-blind-pepsi-challenge/

November 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

Maybe the GH2 fans will be happy to know that I sold mine to a very cool filmmaker friend who intends to hack it and put PL lenses on it?

It's going to a nice farm where it can run and play and be free.

November 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

Toby, I do know, and described, the lighting situation for the Mobius shot I included. I judge this kind of thing by eye, not by the numbers.

November 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

Excellent post Stu!

I think you hit the nail on the head with the c300 and the scarlet. I still have hope for the Mark III.

I own a T2i and just wanted to mention that the new Magic lantern firmware is actually really stable. And even with a transcend class 10 card I can continually use cbr 1.3x without a hitch. Which boosts the mbits to over 50 and gives you a little more latitude to work with in post. and with a sandisk extreme sdhc you can push it to 1.4x which i believe is close to 60. I migrated from an Hv20 to a t2i a year and a half ago and I still see no need to move to anything else yet.

November 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterJosh Piersma

I'll echo everything said above about the GH2 - it's leagues beyond what the Canons can do at this point.

And Stu - I'll make you an offer, in hopes that you'll give the GH2 - and upcoming GH3 - a little more of a fair shake.

Give me a mailing address, and I'll send you one of my hacked GH2s to spend a week with and see what you think of what it can do with the 100Mbps intra hack. I would love to see a Stu Maschwitz write-up on what the GH2 can produce now.

November 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterMark Holmes

Stu _ I'd echo the gh2 ( and gh1) sentiments and then ask why nothing was mentioned about the other sony nex's or alphas dslr's . Having a collection of eos lenses, I'm still waiting for canon to make an alpha-like-slt camera .The gh2 and nex5n make the perfect carry around . I look forward to your 600d article. Could it convince me to part with 650 for a t3i body and finally put my 17-40 to use other than stills ?

Truth is you could write a book now about available camera techology for the filmmaker , much like lenny lipton's Independent Filmmaking , going all the way from the c300/scarlet to the gopro and iphone/touch. Someone needs to ! They would make alot of money on updates....every year something new ! thanks kurth

November 26, 2011 | Registered Commenterkurth bousman

really great nutral post on whats currently happening it is something I can forward to my producer so he gets a better understanding of what's what - thanks for that
But I myself have one question that I have difficulties with;
If you consider buying a C300 for (mainly) commercials and narratives would you go with a PL or EF mount? both have pros/cons as well but simply which one would you go for?

November 26, 2011 | Registered Commentervalentin farkasch

I am interested in the EF C300, because of my investment in Canon glass. Sharing lenses between my stills and video shooting means a lot to me.

November 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

A few thoughts

Pros: Pro video features. All the frame rates you’d ever want from 1 to 60. 10-bit >4:2:2 HD-SDI Output. S-Log.


4:2:2 over single HD-SDI port (out of the box to something like nanoFlash)
4:4:4 over dual HD-SDI with slog upgrade


Cons: 4:2:0, 35Mb/s internal codec.
Yes, Sony really dropped the ball on this one.

But you can get a cheap 4:2:2 recorder like the nanoFlash these days.

Overcranking requires dropping to 720p.
Not much of an issue for me personally, but I know it's important to others.


Aperture control of Canon lenses requires an electronic adapter hand-hewn from unicorn horn.

I like the L-glass for still work, but am not a big fan of still photography lenses in motion picture use for all the obvious mechanical and optical reasons. Especially AF lenses. If you have to go that route you are much better off using manual focus still lenses.

You can get a P+S Technic adapter that will let you mount pretty much anything out there on the F3 (but I'm still not sure if you get EF electronic control)

S-Log is an expensive upgrade and requires an external recorder.

Not cheap, but you are basically getting a baby F35 for less than a tenth of the cost...


The Verdict: If the C300 eats anyone’s lunch, it’s this guy’s

C300 = $17k street
F3/ with nanoFlash (uncompressed 4:2:2) $17k or less depending on 4:2:2 recorder.

But maybe the opposite is also true. If you’re looking at that S-Log feature and planning on using PL or even Canon glass, why wouldn’t you consider a Scarlet instead?

I think the F3 makes most sense with the slog 4:4:4 upgrade. You're basically getting a baby F35 that's better than an F35 for a fraction of the cost. But $17k (the price of a C300) should buy you an F3 and something like a nanoFlash (4:2:2)

But there are other considerations. With the slog upgrade the F3 delivers 13.5 stops of exposure range. There is a firmware upgrade in the wings that supposedly boosts this by another stop (14-14.5 stops). This puts the F3 in terms of dynamic range squarely in Alexa / F65 / film territory. None of these other cameras listed here comes close (Canon says the C300 gets 12 stops, but it's 8bit...). The others clock in at 11 stops or less. Yes, RED has HDRx, but it's a double exposure trick and you may see artifacts under certain circumstances and who knows what the restrictions are on when you can use it.

The F3 reportedly also shoots extremely clean up to 6400asa, although the C300 may turn out to be the king in this department, given Canon's background in the EOS line.

If the question is F3 vs Scarlet there is one very good reason to choose the F3. Like every other RED camera, the Scarlet will probably be in perpetual beta for a long part of it's existence. Frankly this is a massive PIA. Anyone remember the countless builds with the RED ONE?

Also does the Scarlet actually shoot 24P at Super35 and if it does at what resolution? Can it utilize HDRx at that setting? I need to pour over the charts on Phillip Bloom's site, but the changing multiplication factor sounds like a major PIA, especially if you are shooting with primes.

RED makes nice cameras, but their whole chest beating attitude is a real turn off to a lot of people. I want to buy a camera, not join a cult. Remember the old saying "Sony, no baloney?" While Sony is far from perfect, there is a certain amount of truth to that.

Slog has a pretty idiot proof workflow that is well understood throughout the industry.

Things get more complicated with RED raw (although the files are very good).

I'm not anti-Scarlet. I have every reason to hope that it turns out to be the bargain of the decade, but at the moment if I had to choose a sub Alexa / Epic camera it would be the F3 with the slog 4:4:4 upgrade.

The Scarlet looks great on paper, but given RED's history and the perpetual beta state of their firmware, I need to wait and see just how well it works. Yes, I know Fincher shoots all the time with RED, but he's David Fincher and gets David Fincher service and while I have worked with David Fincher, I am not David Fincher, nor have I ever played David Fincher on TV.

And then there is the whole multiple multiplication factors issue with the Scarlet....

The C300 fails for me because of the 8 bit 4:2:2 output and the 20k price tag.

So, I'm sitting here checkbook in hand and will make a decision over the next 2 months. And at the moment it looks like it's the F3 with slog. 13-14.5 stops of range, 4:4:4 slog output that is simple to use, no changing multiplication factors etc etc. It just seems to work.


Cheers,

Harry Lime

November 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterHarry Lime

Hello,

Great post Stu.

I think you've overlooked some critical points when compaing the C300 to the F3.

The $13,500 street price I consider a "body" only. I also based on months of use don't consider the camera complete without sLog and an external recorder(ninja/Kipro/pix240). So adding that in, the shootable cost is somewhere close to 20k. Similar to what canon priced the C300, however, the f3 gives a lot more power for that $$$. The root of that power is the 10bit sdi. It makes for a far more exacting and higher quality post process. This is also, not counting the unreal power of 444 recording. These are BASIC elements the c300 does not offer for the price bracket. Because the truth is, the F3 w/ 10bit out, 444, and true 13.5 stop log, and the scarlet (also 20k ready to rock) 4k, 3k hdrx, 16bit recording, RAW and all its inherent benefits, and build quality through the roof, have set the new standard.

Compared, I personally feel the c300 needs to be compared to this standard.

November 27, 2011 | Registered Commentertimur civan

Maybe Harry or Timur can help answer a question I have. What is the workflow for shooting at off-speeds when recording out through HDSDI? Both the F3 and the C300 allow "slow and quick motion" shooting, where, for example, you can shoot at 22 fps to quicken up a fight scene, or 27 fps to add a bit of float. In both cases the cameras understand that you're shooting these speeds for 24 fps playback.

So what does the external recorder do in these cases? Don't they require standard video transport frame rates, like 23.976, 29.97, 59.94, etc.? Do you operate them at the next-highest standard frame rate and wind up with doubled frames?

November 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

I just checked in to make sure folk have come out to bat for the greatness of the hacked GH2 - and they have.

And ... I'm a little surprised that you're happy to see people fiddling around the innards of their Canons installing physical anti-moire filters, yet you say you "aren't into" a 30-second, completely reversible firmware swap.

November 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterGraham Hickling

Graham, I did not express any emotion regarding the anti-aliasing filter. And whether I am "into" betting my production on a hacked camera or not doesn't mean anything more than just that. It's my gut feeling on the matter, and I have expressed it solely as such.

But let me be even more clear: my disinclusion of the GH2 in this lineup was not some intentional slight nor a dismissal of the camera's utility. This quickly became the longest post I've ever had on Prolost and I had to stop at some point. I explained why I made the single exception of the AF100 in this otherwise Super-35-only lineup. And it's not exactly clear to me how to weigh the benefits of a hacked camera against stock featuresets. It's why I listed the moiré filter and the Magic Lantern hack for the Canons under "twists."

Trust that I am intrigued by the GH2 hack. I'm sure everyone here is right and it's simply the most amazing thing ever. It just didn't fit in this post.

November 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

Great read Stu!
A great example for a gorgeous, cinematic AF100 music video with Zeiss PL glass:
Hooray For Earth - True Loves
http://vimeo.com/22958276

November 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterMatthias Lein / pixelrock

what's absoltely clear is that nobody can deny this: the GH2 has some faithful fans!!

November 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

Thanks for the reply Stu,
Well to be honest, I do expect it to have great lattitude, better than the 5D at least, or at least I hope it does, Vincent LaForet certainly raved about it. I just expected that to equate to more than the 12 stops that most things sub RED do, and although tests and numbers are boring, if a c300 has 12 stops of dynamic range and an fS100 has 12 stops of dynamic range, I don't expect it to kick it's arse in a dynamic range bun fight when I was expecting it to (hopefully it will surprise me). Appreciate the impressiveness of that no lighting, midday sun, desert shot (something I never have the privilige to film in the uk!) but I'm also not convinced that it's an amazing dynamic range test due to the ground acting like a nice reflector to light those faces, along with no doubt the proper use of filters.Either way, I'm hoping to be proved wrong as the camera is tempting me and appreciate the article.Toby

November 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterToby Loc

I'm struck by how closely the current video camera competition resembles the computer rivalries of 30 years ago. At that time, the computer industry was split into several camps with radically different perspectives:

* Mainframe companies, notably IBM, well established in the corporate world.

* Minicomputer companies, notably DEC, who had successfully targeted the small business market.

* Apple Computer, whose Apple II emerged as the leader of the pack of late 70's home computers.

* The PC-clone industry, leveraging its wide-open platform with dramatic leaps in microcomputing power and versatility.

The video world's mainframes are the Arri Alexa and Sony F35, with well-earned professional reputations and industry-standard workflows.

Much like DEC with its relatively inexpensive stand-alone minicomputers, RED's upstart marketing won over the hearts and minds of independent filmmakers, delivering a fresh alternative to the hidebound corporate studio system.

* Following in Apple's footsteps, Canon emerged as the winner of the DSLR video sweepstakes, with a product that wasn't originally designed for film making. In both cases it was a cottage industry of add-on enhancements that made the Apple II and 5D Mark II into useful semi-professional tools.

* As with the IBM PC, the Panasonic GH1 was marketed by a major corporation as a generic mass consumer product based on an open technology platform. Both products attracted swarms of Far East cloners and DIY hackers whose turbo-charged results far outstripped the foresight of their corporate godfathers.

It's also interesting to reflect on the strategic moves the major computer manufacturers made at a comparable point in computing history:

* The mainframe companies continued with business as usual, oblivious to the long-term threat posed by the rapid evolution of their smaller competitiors.

* DEC produced the VAX, the first 32-bit terminal-based minicomputer of its era. The RAW 4K capabilities of Red's Epic platform evokes the affordable raw computing power that was the VAX.

* Apple produced the Lisa, the first consumer PC with a graphical user interface, targeting the small business market with an expensive, yet underpowered box. Will the Canon C300's high price tag and mediocre technology consign it to the same fate as the Lisa? Will the 1D-X become the Macintosh of the DSLR world?

* Spurred on by the accelerating market pressure of the unconstrained PC-clone industry, the PC mutated out of IBM's control into a do-it-all computer that could be cheaply configured to suit your own needs. As with the hacked GH2, PC-clones were widely disparaged as unreliable and unprofessional, good for little more than personal entertainment...

December 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterL Powell

"Canon glass is trickier, because the lenses don’t allow manual irising. Although let’s be honest—it took me a week before I noticed that my Canon 24–70 F2.8L had been damaged and was stuck wide-open, and the only thing that clued me in was an attempt to shoot a DOF demo for fxphd."

This made me giggle. I shoot wide open with this lens so often (particularly for video) that I could easily imagine myself in a similar situation.

December 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterBen Denham

Stu, I would love to hear your thoughts...
as you tried grading with c300 footage, don't you think this camera has a very "video" look ?

December 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterStephane Marino

Not even remotely.

December 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterStu

wow ok :)
I think I need to stop watching those camera tests !

December 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterStephane Marino

Please write a post about you note: "And a very gentle denoising pass can promote C300 footage to 16-bit without much loss in detail." I'm curious as to why you'd do this? In what scenario?

Quoting Kriss Rozins "If you bought the 8-color box of Crayons... and put them into the 64-crayon box... does that change the original number of colors you acquired?" Most color correction programs can operate at 32-bit anyway but would you gain something from upping the bit depth for the c300? Thanks.

January 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterKarl Friman

Blog post soon Karl, but for the time being think of the denoising pass as applying a heat gun to the crayons.

January 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterStu

Thank you, looking forward to it!

January 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterKarl Friman
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